Entrepreneurship can be both extremely rewarding and detrimental… sometimes at the same time. When people talk about it feeling like a roller coaster, it’s not an exaggeration. One minute you feel like the world is crashing down and the next you are flying high on a win (whether big or small).
While there are certain questions you should ask yourself before you actually launch your business, and sometimes entrepreneur life is just not for everyone, there are a few entrepreneurship myths that are more common than they should be.
Myth #1: Your idea is the most important thing
Sure, you need an idea to start a business, but many people put too much emphasis on the idea and not enough on the strategy behind the idea. You can have the greatest idea in the world, but unless you build a strong strategic foundation, it likely won’t go anywhere. You need to figure out your target market, how you’re going to communicate with them, what your short-term and long-term goals are, how much funding you need, when you will become profitable, and much more.
Ideally, you will start exploring your business by creating a business plan. Your business plan doesn’t need to be 100 pages, but it should cover all of the necessities associated with running a successful business so you aren’t flying by the seat of your pants.
Myth #2: You set your own hours
You aren’t tied to a regular 9 to 5 schedule, Monday to Friday, but you definitely don’t have full control over your hours. Technically, you can never really shut work off. Depending on how you are at scheduling and regulating yourself during your working hours, you can get things done efficiently during a certain time period, but if something comes up outside of those hours, you are responsible for dealing with it.
Myth #3: You’ll know immediately if you’re successful
Be realistic about this one. Overnight viral sensations are usually years in the making, and you would be wise to remember that. Giving yourself three weeks or three months to show signs of ultimate success will not allow you to develop your business strategy and grow it fully. It is better if you set out your ultimate goals and then identify smaller milestones along the way. That way you can be realistic about your timelines while still keeping track of your growth as you get there. Taking this approach will allow you to tweak your strategy as necessary if you aren’t hitting your milestones.
Myth #4: You’re a one-man show
Setting yourself up as an island will make life difficult. Whether you have a partner, a team, a coach or mentor, or simply your loved ones, having support will give you the opportunity to grow faster. Like it or not, others will be affected by your decision to become an entrepreneur and you need to recognize that.
Myth #5: You’ll be rich
You might become wildly successful, but you might also create a comfortable living for yourself. Most entrepreneurs don’t get into business ownership for the money – it’s the desire to build something. While money is considered important to live, it shouldn’t be your sole driving factor in entrepreneurship or you likely won’t enjoy the journey.
Myth #6: You need funding to be successful
Not every entrepreneur starts with a huge nest egg – whether self-funded or from third parties. Of course, if you are starting a business with a lot of overhead, you need to take that into consideration. However, if you are risk averse when it comes to money decisions, being indebted to someone or an institution might not be the best option for you. Careful financial and milestone planning can allow you to take on minimal financial risk in the beginning. In some cases, this might mean starting out a bit slower, but you can still build a successful business over time.
Myth #7: You must be a big risk-taker
Of course entrepreneurship comes with some risk. Unless you have decided to start a side hustle, you are giving up a regular paycheck. And you are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of your business. That being said, you can choose to run your business as you like. Sometimes greater risk can bring greater rewards, but it can also bring greater failures. While you might grow at a slower and steadier pace without huge risks, it can create the feeling of calculated control over the success of your business.
You need to go into entrepreneurship with your eyes wide open, ready for battle. Sometimes that means slapping a reality filter on your entrepreneurial vision. Whether you can work that out yourself or you need someone to keep you in check depends on what type of entrepreneur you are.
A version of this article was originally published on the SongBird Marketing Communications Blog.